Home>Articles>LA County Will Not Release Half Its Inmates After All… for Now

Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

LA County Will Not Release Half Its Inmates After All… for Now

The plan would have released MORE THAN HALF of the inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system

By Thomas Buckley, April 3, 2023 9:19 pm

The now (temporarily?) shelved proposal by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis to “de-populate” the local jail system raises a number of interesting questions, one of which is:

How many of the inmates proposed for released by Solis – who was Barack Obama’s Secretary of Labor – stole money from the unemployment agency run by Julie Su, who may become Joe Biden’s next Secretary of Labor?

It’s a small world, a world that would become significantly more dangerous if Solis (and her Democratic Socialist of America – Los Angeles chapter-supported co-sponsor Supervisor Lindsay Horvath) got their way.



But, sensing a political chasm opening beneath her feet, Solis Monday afternoon withdrew a proposal slated for Tuesday’s board meeting that would have released MORE THAN HALF of the inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system.

The motion, titled “Los Angeles County to Take Actionable Next Steps to Depopulate and Decarcerate the Los Angeles County Jails…” called for the release of inmates whose “aggregate” bail was lower than $50,000 as part of a plan to “depopulate and decarcerate” the jails as a way, in part, “to redress historical wrongs, deeply rooted in systemic racism and prejudice, and reverse status quo responses to poverty, mental health and medical needs, and substance use dependencies.”

This unexplained release threshold figure – Solis’ office did not respond to a request for comment and an explanation of how the figure was arrived at – would have sprung about 7,500 of the approximately 14,000 current “guests of the county.”

It is quite possible that the $50,000 figure was not arbitrary but arrived at by working backwards to get to that “more than half” number, thereby possibly justifying the immediate demolition of the Men’s Central Jail building, an item that has been on the county’s “to-do” for some time as part of its “care first, jails last” – also known as “Hugs AND Drugs” – policy.

Sliding in under that threshold – and therefore eligible for release – would be people charged with crimes like possession/distribution of child pornography, battery, domestic violence, residential burglary, pimping, grand theft auto, child stealing, assault with a firearm, sexual battery, false imprisonment, etc. (to view the full county bail schedule, see the PDF at the bottom of this story.)

Besides releasing inmates, the move would have almost certainly reduced the number of new inmates. It is quite possible that those arrested for crimes that carry a bail under $50,000 would simply be cited and released instead of being taken to jail, setting up the possibility that a burglar – if he happened to be caught in the act –  and his burglee would be left standing together in the home’s driveway after the cops left.

Exactly whether or not Solis knew the political firestorm the proposal would create – or even exactly what the actual impact it would have – is unclear.  What is abundantly clear is that Solis’ office “Justice Deputy” Esther Lim (who has a masters in social work and is not an attorney) knew exactly what the motion meant; prior to joining Solis, Lim – again, not a lawyer – headed up the local ACLU branch’s effort to – wait for it – close the Men’s Central Jail.  For more about Lim, read her near-parody of a woke biography.

Once it became widely noticed, the proposal drew an immediate and sharp rebuke from numerous quarters.  

“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ (proposal) to gut parts of the criminal justice system without input from stakeholders is dangerous and reckless. The authors sought no advice from those who know and understand public safety issues,” said Eric Siddall, vice president of the Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys. “The proposal sought to lower the jail population without addressing the root causes of crime or protecting the public. This catch-and-release program comes without any plan or infrastructure to protect the community from violent criminals apprehended by law enforcement. It creates no lockdown facilities for the mentally ill. It benefits no one except career criminals.”

Siddall – like almost every other deputy district attorney, not a fan of uber-progressive District Attorney George Gascon – called the proposal so radical “it makes Gascon look like a law and order, conservative DA.”

Incidentally, Solis’ proposal would have also declared the jail system as being a “humanitarian crisis,” a designation that has no legal meaning but seems to have been included merely as a public relations “sympathy hook” for the motion.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger criticized the idea Monday, saying “A policy discussion as high stakes as depopulating our county’s jail must include collaboration and input from law enforcement partners. This motion has failed to do that so I cannot support it.”

Fellow supervisor Janice Hahn also said she could not support the proposal; the position of the final supervisor – Holly Mitchell – is not yet clear, though she did recently support a move to “de-populate” juvenile facilities.

It is not yet known when – and if – Solis will attempt to move her plan forward again.

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3 thoughts on “LA County Will Not Release Half Its Inmates After All… for Now

    1. Hope this will happen, Raymond.
      In the meantime, I suggest readers contact the members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
      Go to the link below and you will see the five members there with contact info at each member’s page:
      This nonsense came out of nowhere and it will surely rear its ugly head again at the first opportunity.
      Lest anyone think this only affects L.A. County, it does not, so go ahead, wherever you live, and let them know your thoughts if you can, especially Supervisor Hilda Solis and Supervisor Lindsay Horvath.
      Note that Supr Kathryn Barger is the only sane member and Supr Janice Hahn is often a semi-sane member. Solis and Horvath have now shown themselves to be completely hard-core Dem/Marxists, with Holly Mitchell a rather reliable Dem/Marxist. This clueless threesome is a three-member majority voting bloc that would
      be able to pass this B.S. But I suspect they will curl up into the fetal position if they receive blowback from the public. Be civil but firm and succinct and let them know what you think.

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